Electricity lines can be constructed to be environmentally compatible

5/17/2000Wien

"The Burgenland line, commissioned five months ago, is a model example of international proportions of the manner in which high voltage transmission lines can be constructed to be environmentally friendly,"

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Herbert Schröfelbauer, vice spokesman of the VERBUND Managing Board and responsible, among other things, for research and environment, stated today, Wednesday, on VERBUND Environment Day 2000 in the town of Schlaining. Of the 1,3 billion ATS construction costs, roughly 280 million ATS, or 21,5 %, will be invested in environmental protection measures.

The new, 108 km kilovolt line from southeast Vienna to Rotenturm in Southern Burgenland was established in barely 2,5 years construction period under ecological supervision. It is part of the planned, altogether 1.500 km 380 kv Austria ring, whose completion – currently there are still approx. 370 km lacking – will significantly increase the security of electricity supply.

For the Burgenland line, 344 transmission poles were newly constructed. Additionally, a new transmission line was developed, which is only scarcely higher than the traditional 220-kv-transmission-lines. Due to being able to route other lines to the new "electricity highway", 324 old transmission poles can be taken out of commission, resulting in a much-improved, load-relief landscape. Especially in protected areas, poles and cables were adapted to the landscape.

The ecological supervision under the leadership of landscape architect Ralph Gälzer, university professor, gave the construction companies exact regulations to go by and accompanied the construction by providing both consultation and monitoring. Thus, as Gälzer expounded on VERBUND Environment Day, among others, special off-periods for areas containing rare bird species were enacted during the nesting- and brooding season, ground wires for the protection of the birds were especially marked, and individual vegetation areas and biotopes were sealed off.

Bewag Spokesman of the Board Mag. Anton Schubaschitz emphasised that, since the commissioning of the 380-kV-line, his company had been able to start a large-scale "cleansing" in the transmission grid: to date, he said, 40 km 110-kV overhead circuits with 268 poles had already been taken out of commission, as well as the cabling of 32 km 20-kV-transmission-lines begun.